herald

Sunday 24 February 2019

Blitz at inner city schools

WHAT a beautiful noise.........coming in from the coast.

This week many of the children will play Gaelic football for the first time in the Scoil Uí Chonaill/Croke Park Community Schools Football Blitz.

It’s the inaugural School Blitz that is designed to promote Gaelic games in the inner city. It began yesterday and runs until Thursday.

They couldn’t do it in a better place – Scoil Uí Chonaill is on the Clontarf Road. It’s opposite the old baths.

Six schools are making the big splash – Scoil Neasain, St Joseph’s East Wall, St Vincent’s GNS North William Street, Gardiner Street, Coláiste Mhuire and Laurence O’Toole GNS.

And for four days, the city slickers will be stars of pitch and screen. RTE were there yesterday to film the action.

“Our aim is to give these kids an opportunity to play Gaelic football. It’s to instil a sense of pride. Many will be representing their school for the first time,” explains Scoil’s Coaching Development Officer, Alex Chapman.

“It’s a unique tournament because it has direct involvement with Croke Park itself. We have organised it in conjunction with the Croke Park Community Fund Project.

“We are thankful to Croke Park for giving the event their full backing. In the future we’d hope to include more schools from the inner city.”

The pupils will be walking in the footprints of history. Scoil were formed in 1950. They have achieved much over the decades.

Mick Bohan and Larry Shannon were on the Dublin team that lost the 1961 All- Ireland Hurling final to Tipp by a whisker. The 80’s were the club’s golden days.

They were competing in Division 1 of both senior hurling and football. In 1983 and 1986, Scoil won the Dublin Senior Football Championship, and at the end of the decade they lifted the Dublin Senior Camogie Championship crown. Now the focus is very much on the juvenile structure as they seek to climb back up the stairs at adult level.

Their elegant home is a major asset for their on-going work. “The venue is ideal for this week’s event. It’s very childfriendly,” says Alex.

“The overall target is to get these children involved in sport. Sport provides such a focus in life. And we want to help these schools as much as we can.

“Most of the children are not with any club, but we are hoping that this week’s Blitz will see them want to continue to play Gaelic games.

“These schools are on the door-step of Croke Park. We’d like to think that maybe next year some of the schools could get involved in Cumann na mBunscol. That would be real progress.

“The bottom line is to endeavour to get more children involved in playing Gaelic games. And who knows where it could lead to.”

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